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Sotoba Komachi - Old Fitz Theatre (NSW)

Inspired by classical Japanese Noh (Nō) theatre, and rewritten by contemporary Japanese playwright, Yukio Mishima. Directed by Jeremi Campese for New Ghosts Theatre Company. 

 

Reviewed by Chanele Mao

Old Fitz Theatre, Woolloomooloo

Season 6 April – 13 April 2024

 

Is beauty only skin deep?

In the spirit world – anything could happen

If looks could kill

 

It’s twilight on a balmy summer’s day. The park is mostly deserted. In the middle of the park, there are two lone park benches. Love is in the air. Two young couples have found their way into the park and flocked to the benches.

 

An old lady, with scruffy hair and dirty hems, walks hunched into this scene of young love, and unabashedly makes space for herself on the very bench a pair of young lovers have become entangled in a compromising position. They jump, caught in the act, and thus we begin the classic Japanese tale of love and longing between the living and the dead, in New Ghosts Theatre’s exciting production of Sotoba Komachi.


Cast of Sotoba Komachi (2024). Images by Karl Elbourne

 

Komachi centres on the main character, Komachi (Susan Ling Young), an old lady of 99-years-young who finds herself day and night foraging in this urban park, like a hungry ghost. Her heart is not yet at peace, as we discover that in her youth, she was a rare beauty - a bright diamond, whose shine and sheen attracted many a men from kingdoms far and away. One such suitor was Captain Fukakusa, who promised to visit Komachi for 100 consecutive nights, in exchange for her eternal love on the 100th night. Unfortunately, he did not get to fulfil his wish.

 

“A fool like you thinks every beautiful women gets ugly as soon as she grows old…” - Komachi

 

Young’s portrayal of Komachi was sweet, elegant and sprightly - she sparkled with wit and wisdom whilst retelling her past love story to the new guy on-the-block, the Poet (Wern Mak) who bumps into Komachi in the park.  Despite Komachi’s old age, Young’s eyes glisten brightly full of intelligence and curiously, has zero wrinkles! Mak is empathetic and genuine as the present day Poet who falls for Komachi, despite his better judgment.

 

The stage is simple and bare, with some grass patches and two long benches to set the scene. The ensemble moved fluidly as they danced the well-choreographed waltz, which transported the audience to the past where the young Komachi and her ladies in-waiting danced at a glorious ball. There was much excitement in the air, as Captain Fukakusa was anticipated to make an appearance, or does he? There was also a covered grand piano on stage, which was beckoning to be played, but was unused during the performance.

 

Komachi is a retelling of a Japanese tragicomedy with themes of young love, lost love, death and eternal love. It is poetic as it is beautiful. Be delighted on a night out embracing the classic Japanese Nō story - does true love conquer all? Will Komachi find her happiness in this life or the next? Be sure to get tickets to Komachi to find out!

 

The show runs for approximately 45 minutes.  

 

Cast and Creative Team

Producing Company: New Ghosts Theatre Company

Playwright: Yukio Mishima

Director: Jeremi Campese

Producer: Claudia Elbourne

Cultural Consultant: Mayu Iwasaki

Production Designer: Rita Naidu

Sound Designer: Johnny Yang

Lighting Designer: Chris Milburn

Stage Manager: Oscar Ali

Choreographer: Artemis Alfonzetti

Intimacy Coordinator: Shondelle Pratt


Cast (of 6): Susan Ling Young, Wern Mak, Rachel Seeto, Jasper Lee-Lindsay, Millie Hing, Jeremi Campese


This listing is updated as cast/creatives are confirmed in the lead-up to the production, and if there are changes to the team.

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